On 20 October 2023, the European Commission adopted the revised Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan. It promises transformative implications, not just for the broader energy sector but also specifically for inland waterway transport. The updated SET Plan aligns with the European Green Deal, REPowerEU Plan, and the Green Deal Industrial Plan, offering a coordinated approach towards achieving Europe’s decarbonisation goals.
The updated SET Plan focuses on cross-cutting concerns like sustainability by design, skills development, research and innovation tailored to societal needs, digitalisation, and market accessibility. This holistic approach will foster the development and deployment of clean and efficient energy technologies.
The plan expands its technology scope to include all strategic renewable energy technologies. This inclusive approach recognises the substantial developments in renewable energy technologies since the SET Plan’s inception, ensuring that the EU remains at the forefront of clean energy innovation.
A dedicated workstream on hydrogen will implement the “ERA pilot on Green Hydrogen”. This measure highlights the EU’s commitment to a joint venture towards new challenges and emerging technologies, which is a key element in Europe’s journey towards a climate-neutral future. Green hydrogen has the potential to transform fuel sources for waterway vessels, marking a significant step towards a climate-neutral transport network.
The plan also fosters cooperation between the European Technology and Innovation Platforms and the European industrial alliances. This will reinforce manufacturing capacity in clean energy technologies and address market, regulatory, infrastructure, and technological challenges that currently hinder their widespread adoption.
The SET Plan, since its inception in 2007, has been a backbone for coordinating clean energy research and innovation. Its latest revision strengthens this role, ensuring that sectors like inland waterway transport continue to benefit from cutting-edge research, driving them towards a greener, more sustainable future.